How to Manage Bad Breath

According to Dr. Joseph T. Hung, it is all about making the right impression when socializing with others. After all, a person wants to show a potential mate that they are well-suited for him or her. This is why it is important to take care of one’s oral hygiene. No one wants to date a person who has bad breath, commonly called halitosis. After all, this is something that could immediately turn off a date. Additionally, bad breath can affect one’s work and school relationships and could project a negative image to people. Thankfully, there are solutions available. By understanding and then dealing with bad breath, a person can have more confidence when dating.

Tips to Avoid Halitosis

  1. Avoid foods that cause bad breath! Bad breath happens for a number of reasons. Some people have halitosis because of the foods they eat: garlic, among other foods, can taint the mouth, as healthy as garlic may be. This happens because foods are digested and then absorbed into the bloodstream, which affects the breath. Similarly, the old saying about too much of a good thing definitely applies here. Don’t load up your dishes with garlic, if you know you have a date coming up.
  2. Balance one’s diet.  A balanced diet is more than just losing weight. Instead, this ensures that a person has the right nutrients in his or her body. This ensures that all systems are properly working and that one will not have to deal with bad breath issues. People should take a look at the age-old food pyramid and make sure they are getting enough fruits and vegetables in the body. A nutritionist can also be consulted to ensure that one’s diet is not causing bad breath issues.
  3. Take control of your oral hygiene.  Often, improper hygiene can cause bad breath. This happens when people do not brush and floss, or if the brushing and flossing are not done correctly. Something small like not using the right toothbrush can cause the issue. Teens who have braces often have a hard time getting around the metal as well.  Spend a solid several minutes in the mouth brushing in a circular motion and try to brush and floss twice a day.  We also highly suggest using a quality mouthwash such as Listerine.
  4. Avoid smoking.  Smoking cigarettes and cigars or chewing tobacco are also contributing factors. Smoking can also irritate the gums and dilutes the power of taste. Even cutting back on smoking will have some dramatic results for people trying to quit the habit.
  5. Talk to doctors, such as orthodontists, dentists, internists or nutritionists.  Bad breath could be the result of gum disease, which happens when plaque builds up and toxins are released and irritate the gums. This can damage a person’s jaw and mouth, and it can even be painful. Additionally, another condition that should be checked is dry mouth. This happens when plaque and dead cells are not washed away with saliva.

A Doctor’s Thoughts on Bad Breath

I tell patients that I believe cleaning around every part of the tooth meticulously is an important part of oral hygiene during treatment and beyond to prevent bacteria from growing.  Quite simply, it’s a serious part of your personal hygiene daily activity.  Small spaces are a perfect environment to grow bacteria.  This is true for every hard to reach part of your body, in and behind ears, in your belly button, in between your fingers and toes and especially underneath your fingers and toes.  Microbes thrive in oxygen deficient environments.   Don’t let the small spaces on your body be the host environment.

Often, crooked teeth or gum issues can really affect bad breath as well as overall oral health. Looking into aligners such as Invisalign, among other orthodontic tools ensures that a person can get control of his or her smile and truly impress people while dealing with halitosis. Misaligned jaws or crooked teeth make proper oral health more challenging. This is why an orthodontist can actually be an appropriate doctor to see regarding both orthodontic issues and halitosis.

Additionally, one should not think that a dentist visit is the same thing as a visit to the orthodontist. Instead, each profession is needed for people who want a perfect smile and want to get rid of harmful bacteria and bad breath.  You may initially visit the dentist for a cleaning, check-up, and x-rays, but discover that braces are an option to straighten teeth and correct orthodontic issues that are exacerbating your halitosis.

Remember, YOU can take control of your oral health. Waiting will only make bad breath worse, which is why it is important to review one’s brushing and flossing routine and to talk to both an orthodontist and dentist. In time, one can really improve their oral health. This not only stops bad breath but will also prevent issues such as gum disease and jaw pain from happening later on down the line. Who said bad breath had to be a deal breaker? There are many ways to confront these issues head on.

Dr. Hung is a Harvard-educated orthodontist and founder of RockCenter Orthodontics– Manhattan’s best orthodontic practice and home to the top 1% rating for Invisalign in New York City and internationally.

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